Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Thailand Diaries - 23rd - 24th May - Travel & Birthday

{23/05/2017 - 24/05/2017} TRAVELLING TO THAILAND

Believe it or not, and I'm sure those of you who know me intimately absolutely would, we booked our plane tickets to Thailand two days before departure. Our first hotel the night before flying. It's not that I'm disorganised, I just have an inability to make decisions. I will dither between two paths until there is no option left but to cover my eyes and point. This ailment plagues me most when the decision is under pressure, and deciding what to do for my 21st birthday was pressure. Honestly, I was very close to opting for a nice dinner with my boyfriend, Jack, and buying myself some flowers and a haircut, but we ended up going to Thailand for two weeks.

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{The first in my week of travel diary entries, adapted from the journal I took with me. Forgive the mish-mash on this one, but I thought I would throw together the lead up and the first two days as the majority was spent travelling! I'm aiming to publish a post a day for the next week, outlining our journey, as I want to remember the details forever. I really hope you enjoy.}



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The lead up

I have savings, yet have never actually dipped into them for the sole purpose of Living It Up. I reasoned that turning into a full twenty something was validation enough, so looked around for things to do. I started with food. Where could I go to indulge in amazing food? Thailand. Or maybe we could just spend a quiet, long weekend in the Lake District...? I went back and forth between these two for about a month. Both seemed equally up my street, but I was far less likely to contract a death in the latter, but then I really do like Thai food. Do you see my problem? Anyway, I ended up looking at flights and just booked them then and there.

Then came the planning. Wait, do you need vaccinations? What do you mean it's approaching monsoon season? Am I really that likely to bump into a rabies ridden dog? Just how risky is a "low risk" of malaria? 

Here, I would like to thank everyone on Twitter & Snapchat who messaged me with advice, especially @tonidoncaster who calmed my nerves SO MUCH and is directly responsible for my not dying. As you can see, I am writing this after the fact. Spoiler alert: we made it, have arrived home safely, and haven't detected any ill symptoms just yet. We concluded that vaccinations weren't necessary as we didn't plan to venture too rural, and I bought a really powerful mosquito spray.

Pocket travel guide from WH Smiths. It's brilliant!

23rd - Tuesday

Factor 50 suncream, jungle level mosquito spray, plasters, frizz ease hair mask, toothpaste, bikini, rehydration pills, suitcase padlocks, £500 worth of Thai Baht in cash and two Post Office travel money cards later, we are on a train to Manchester Airport, trying to activate our travel money cards. We got them on Saturday and have been trying to activate them since, but they won't, and in 4 hours we are leaving the country. As a precaution I've used my phone to transfer the whole budget to my mum, so she can put it on the cards when they activate.

Plane

13hrs - 1 change at Qatar

Jack is very excited to find that on long haul flights you get personal TV screens, complete with every LOTR movie. I am very excited to find that you also get free blankets, socks and eye masks. 

We spent most of the first journey watching movies together, and the second flight getting as much sleep as possible. Qatar Airways are pretty nice, and they've come around with tiny glasses of water about every half hour. It probably would have been less work to just give us a bottle each, but I don't care enough to write a review on their website.

Departure: 16:00 23rd
Arrival: 12:40 24th {my birthday!}

Off the plane

Oh my god, we're in Thailand. I like to jump two footed onto the ground of new countries while taking a deep breath of the new air (I don't know, it's a thing) but this plane had a walkway straight into the airport so that has to wait.

During the taxi journey to our hotel it's started pissing it down, with alarmingly frequent thunder. Think of the heaviest rain you have experienced in England, but there's no wind and it's really hot and no one seems to bother running for cover. This isn't a great start. Jack and I have exchanged "everything is fine" smiles.



Stop 1: Arun Residence, Bangkok

I found this hotel on a Telegraph list of the best hotels in Bangkok, as I wanted to stay in a comfy place for my birthday. It worked out at £70 a night, so pretty damn reasonable. It's situated right by the river, and the lobby opens straight out onto a side street filled with food carts. The room is bloody amazing.


The view from our balcony, overlooking the Wat Arun temple. Omg.




A big ass shower.





5PM

Once showered and settled we had a nap, then went to locate a tea. I had never seen powdered creamer until today.

The rain cleared up within an hour, and now the weather is warm and humid. We've been sat outside for a while, soaking up the fact we are literally in Thailand. A little timid to leave the hotel.



8PM

I was so over excited to find dinner that I didn't know where to start. Trip Adviser quickly became the go-to, and we found PEEPS was highly recommended, authentic, family run and close by. Stepping outside the hotel, we instantly found a tuk tuk. Jack bounded up, very excited to get bartering, but as we didn't know the appropriate price, 300B became 200B (for a 10 minute journey) (£4.50). We knew we'd been taken for a ride on our ride, but zooming through the organised chaos of Bangkok's roads at night, warm air rushing past, was an amazing experience, so we don't care much. And I was very hungry.

Tonight I discovered Tom Kha soup. Oh my god. I know it definitely includes coconut milk and lemongrass, with a kick, but it was so much more. Thai food is incredible for balancing flavours, and my mouth didn't know what to think but "YES". If you're Thai food aware, you'll scoff, but there were a lot of things floating around in the soup that I didn't know if you could eat or not. So I tried them all. All seemed to be a no. You either couldn't chew them, or they were EXTREMELY flavoursome and painful. Well, I'm here to learn! 

A very odd thing started happening half way through my soup. I was filling up. No! No no, I came to Thailand to eat. Let me please eat a lot on my birthday. Next was fried rice, while Jack had, in his words, the best Pad Thai of the trip. I couldn't finish my rice. It was very annoying. I really hope I haven't already ingested something fatal. I'd been sure to keep my mouth shut in the shower and everything. 

A taxi home was 100B.

10PM

Bed. Very tired. Very full. Still can't believe we're in Thailand. Tomorrow we're sightseeing in Bangkok - eep! It's about 6PM in England, and I'm so ready to sleep. Ha. We beat jet lag.


We found booking.com was the best site to find and book hotels on our trip! Get £15 off your stay with my link - https://www.booking.com/s/pollyv69 - and I would recommend getting the app too while away, as it has great features like showing the hotel address in the local language, which was a life saver!

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